A negative first encounter is hard to live down. For the sake of repeat business and referrals, you need to make a very positive impression whenever you meet a potential client for the first time.
Speak Clearly and Carefully
Potential clients make snap judgments about you within seconds of meeting you, so don’t get tongue-tied during your first encounter. Think about doing some homework about your would-be client before your first meeting. It’s always helpful to find out what the person cares about and why they need your services. From there, make a short list of talking points to engage them in conversation about their needs, and to showcase your business savvy and ability to solve their problem.
Learn to Chat
Try not to discount the power of small talk. You want to find common ground with your potential clients right away. Talking about something you have in common before and after your first meeting makes it easier to connect on that all-important human level. Consider looking for clues, maybe a shared favourite sports team, coffee beverage, or alma mater, to kick off the conversation. Social media websites like LinkedIn and Twitter are great places to look for conversation starters.
Show, Don’t Tell
You also want to be mindful of your body language. Holding your head and your chest high says you’re comfortable in your milieu and confident enough to get the job done. You want to remember to do this even if your natural instinct is to slink into your chair or shrink into the background when you’re not on the job.
That you never get a second chance to make a first impression is very true. Your business relationships stand to be a lot stronger and easier to maintain if you make an excellent impression right off the bat.